NPA rebels


MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo says the government’s fight against communist insurgency cannot be won through pure military solution, stressing that the root cause of the decades-long armed struggle must be addressed, too.

Robredo during her visit to Iloilo City on Friday was asked to react to reports that scores of alleged guerillas in Miag-ao town in Iloilo were killed by government troopers during a firefight last December 1.

“Ako isa rin ako sa very consistent — very consistent sa aking stand na ‘yong insurgency hindi siya mareresolba with purely military solutions.  And the AFP agrees with us,” Robredo, referring to the Armed Forces of the Philippines, told reporters in Iloilo City.

(I am also very consistent with my stand regarding the insurgency, as I said that it cannot be resolved with purely military solutions.  And the AFP agrees with us.)

She said a whole-of-nation approach should be adopted, which means going to the root cause of the insurgency, such as landlessness and grinding poverty.

“In fact no’ng prinesent nila sa atin ‘yong kanilang plano sa insurgency, 100 percent ay ano tayo, fully supportive, na kailangan whole-of-nation approach, na matatanggal mo lang ‘yong insurgency ‘pag ang inaddress mo ‘yong core issues,” Robredo said.

(In fact when they presented to us their plan to end the insurgency, we were fully supportive, 100 percent, because we need a whole-of-nation approach, that you can only end the insurgency when you address the core issues.)

She said no amount of killings and fightings could end the insurgency for as long as inequity and injustice persist.

Robredo said rural infrastructure, for example, help improve the rural economy.

She said she was in discussion with Senator Franklin Drilon, who hails from Iloilo, about projects like dams to be complete in two years.

“Iyong Jalaur Dam, it is expected to be completed in two years, na ito, ‘yong magbe-benefit dito ay napakaraming mga small farmers, ang magbebenefit dito hindi lang siya irrigation for farmers, mayroong source of power din siya, source of water supply for the whole of Iloilo province,” she said.

(This dam is expected to be completed in two years, and with these projects, many small farmers would benefit from this, but not only farmers who would get a source of irrigation, but it is also a source of power, and water supply for the whole of Iloilo province.)

“Itong mga ganitong klaseng programa ang dapat pinaglalaanan natin ng pansin dahil ia-address nito ‘yong pinaka-buod ng mga issues na pinagmumulan.  ’Pag na-aadress ‘yong rural developments, do’n nag-uumpisa ‘yong pangmatagalang solusyon sa insurgency,” she added.

(We should pay attention to these kinds of programs because these would address the origin of the issues cited by the rebels.  If rural development is addressed, we can start the long-term solution to the insurgency.)

Robredo recently attracted controversy after she initially pushed for the abolition of the controversial National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), on grounds that it has been used to abuse and harass activists and critics of the government.

READ: Robredo vows to abolish NTF-ELCAC, create ‘conducive environment’ for peace talks 

But in a security briefing with top AFP officials last November 26, Robredo was quoted as saying that she supports NTF-ELCAC’s mandate and functions, adding that some of its members are only careless.

Later on, Robredo’s spokesperson Barry Gutierrez clarified that the Vice President is still for the abolition of the task force.

The military and the NTF-ELCAC are accused by some rights groups of using their mandate to go against activists and tag them as NPA rebels.

Since 1968, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), have been waging one of the longest-running Maoist uprising in the world.

Duterte vows to crush NPA and CPP’s all ‘legal fronts’ 
Robredo says she supports NTF-ELCAC mandate, but ‘careless members’ put it in bad light 
Probe, audit of NTF-ELCAC funds sought amid red-tagging uproar 

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